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Mr. Bush, Tear Down These Walls!

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Posted on Apr 26, 2007
Baghdad Wall
AP Photo / David Guttenfelder

U.S. troops patrol as an Iraqi worker rests on top of a security wall protecting the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad in 2003. The U.S. recently started constructing a security barrier around a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad.

By Scott Ritter

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”  With those six words, President Ronald Reagan cemented his place in history.  Uttered on June 12, 1987, with America’s “Great Communicator” standing at the base of the Brandenburg Gate, Reagan’s speech is seen by many as signifying the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union’s hold over Eastern Europe.  Nearly two and a half years later, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall came crashing down, and with it decades of Soviet domination over East Germany and the other nations that made up the Warsaw Pact.

Reagan’s speech was full of the flowery rhetoric typical of polarizing political addresses.  But it was also rooted in the principles and ideals at the very foundation of America.  Reagan wasn’t simply on a political stump, gushing throw-away political promises.  He was placing an ideological marker on the ground, establishing a rallying point around which people from all walks of life could assemble in the defense of freedoms not enjoyed on the other side of the Berlin Wall.  He pointedly noted, in comparing the forces of democracy and those of communism,  “... there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.”

For Ronald Reagan, the Berlin Wall represented the physical manifestation of the denial of freedom.  As such, the infamous barrier was in fact an impediment to prosperity, reinforcing ancient hatreds among nations.  Democracy didn’t automatically emerge victorious with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, however.  In order for freedom to claim victory from the shadow of the Cold War, prosperity would need to take hold, and peace would need to reign.  And indeed, in much of Europe since 1990 this is in fact the situation.  Regardless of what one may think about him as a person or president, on this matter Reagan was right:  Walls are a barrier to freedom, and as such represent the antithesis of American values.

It is strangely curious that many ideologues on the right wing of the American political spectrum so openly identify with Reagan.  As President Bush’s popularity ratings continue to plummet, many old-time Republicans and political conservatives wax philosophical about the “good old days” when a real conservative held the highest office of the land.  Yet these are the same people who, when asked to comment point by point about various aspects of the policies of the administration of President George W. Bush, will defend the establishment of barriers dividing the Iraqi city of Baghdad (as well as the parallel policy of fencing off entire Iraqi villages and neighborhoods), the construction of a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico, and the establishment of a missile defense “shield” (nothing less than a wall projected into outer space) over Europe. Reagan, a Republican president, rightly noted that those who defend freedom must oppose walls.  The present-day Republicans seem to have forgotten this.

The ongoing policy of building walls in Baghdad designed to segregate Sunni neighborhoods from Shiite neighborhoods is as morally despicable as it is ineffective.  The Soviets built walls; the Nazis walled off entire communities, often as a precursor to rounding up the segregated population and shipping it off to concentration camps.  History has rightly condemned both practices.  The only modern nation that actively incorporates the construction of walls as an aspect of domestic and foreign policy is Israel, and its policy of apartheid regarding the Palestinians is morally indefensible.  That the party of Ronald Reagan would willingly ally itself with those who embrace policies so rightly and strongly condemned by America’s 40th president speaks volumes to the moral vacuum it is operating in today.  What is the next step these erstwhile “Reaganites” propose to undertake in Baghdad when the construction of walls fails to impede those who fight for the liberation of their nation from the tyranny of a brutal occupier?  Concentration camps?

I was recently in the southern Texas city of McAllen, where I was asked by a Hispanic-American what my opinion of the proposed wall along the Mexican-U.S. border was.  I told her that I was from New York and as such lacked the intimacy of comprehension about the reality of the immigration situation that someone who lived right on the border might have.  However, I said, as a New Yorker I knew a few things about immigration.  I’ve had the pleasure of doing a few tours with a fire department in a city in upstate New York, working in the heart of Main Street, USA.  There one cannot help but notice that the overwhelming percentage of people living and working in the neighborhood in question is Mexican in origin and, upon a more detailed examination, is from the troubled Mexican city of Oaxaca.  While they lived in Oaxaca, these people were racked by crime, poverty and civil strife.  In their new home in New York state, they operated as law-abiding residents, paying their taxes and contributing to society.  I don’t know if their status in America was consistent with U.S. immigration law.  I do know that their presence is a necessary one if this city is to complete the economic rebirth it is striving for.  Just ask the firefighters.

I have also taken the time to read the inscription at the Statue of Liberty, one of New York’s—and America’s—greatest monuments to the cause of liberty and freedom.  It would do well to repeat it here:  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”  This statement is the very essence of what it means to be an American.  I look at the wall this administration is building along the border with Mexico, and I feel nothing but shame toward a nation—my nation—that can so easily turn its back on the very people for whom Lady Liberty served as a beacon on their quest for freedom and liberty.

Recently the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Gen. Henry Obering, made a visit to the Czech Republic, where he lobbied hard for Czech political approval of the basing of a U.S. antimissile radar system on Czech soil.  “We believe that this radar in the Czech Republic will protect European allies and our deployed forces in the region against what we see as a growing Iranian missile threat,” Obering told Czech politicians.  This was a curious statement, seeing that the only two missile systems currently deployed in the Middle East that could possibly threaten Europe are the Shavit missile, an Israeli system with a range of over 4,000 kilometers, and the Chinese-made CSS-2 intermediate-range missiles currently in the inventory of Saudi Arabia, possessing a range of between 3,000 and 4,000 kilometers.  Iran’s Shahab-3 missile, still in the developmental stage, has a range of between 1,300 and 1,650 kilometers.  The distance between the northern Iranian city of Tabriz and Prague is 2,850 kilometers.  “We did an analysis of the trajectories from Iran into Europe and from Iran into the U.S. and it turned out that Poland and the Czech Republic are the two nations ideal for the interceptors and long-range radar, respectively,” Gen. Obering said.

  Poland, even farther from Iran than the Czech Republic, is another Eastern European nation being courted by the United States as a base for its ostensible “anti-Iranian” ballistic missile shield.  There is no threat to Europe from Iran’s missiles.  There is, however, a threat to American Middle East policy if Europe and Iran are able to find common diplomatic ground.  America’s missile defense shield appears better designed to sink European-Iranian rapprochement than it is to shoot down any Iranian missile.

While there is no doubt that Iran’s missiles do not, and cannot, threaten either Europe or the United States (Obering’s precise calculations notwithstanding), there is in fact no doubt that the proposed missile defense system upsets the delicate strategic balance between the United States and NATO on the one hand and Russia on the other.  One of the spinoffs of the rapprochement between Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Michael Gorbachev was the implementation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which did away with two entire classes of ballistic missiles (intermediate and short-range) that collectively threatened all of Europe with nuclear holocaust.  Much of present-day Europe’s economic prosperity stems from the free flow of ideas and commerce between its newly expanded borders and post-Soviet Russia.  The construction of the U.S. missile defense shield in Europe would in fact place the Russians at a strategic disadvantage, something the American designers of the missile shield know full well.

The expansion of NATO in the aftermath of the Cold War has been a very sensitive subject for Moscow, which has watched as the Warsaw Pact collapsed and the borders of the NATO alliance have expanded adjacent to the soil of Mother Russia.  The United States, which has been at the head of this aggressive expansion, has repeatedly told the Russians that they have nothing to fear from NATO.  The reality is quite different.  The expansion of NATO right up to Russia’s borders creates not only the perception but also the reality that the U.S. and Europe are hemming Russia in.  Russia is not feeling the pressure from “Old Europe,” the traditional core of NATO, but rather “New Europe,” the former nations of the Warsaw Pact, which still chafe in memory of the Soviet yoke.

The United States has perfected the art of “divide and conquer” politics, using the expansion of NATO as wedge politics within Europe, isolating and weakening Europe’s traditional centers of political and economic strength (France and Germany in particular).  The Bush administration’s effort to install a missile defense shield represents a “wall” of sorts being constructed between Europe and Russia, one that will inevitably compel the Russians to withdraw from the INF Treaty and build a new generation of nuclear-tipped missiles that will be targeted at European cities.  But it also represents a deliberate effort to build ideological “walls” across Europe, weakening that continent’s ability to stand up to the United States as a singular political and economic entity.  America once fought a revolution to free itself from ideological and physical tyranny imposed by an imperialistic power from across the ocean.  It is high time that the citizens of Europe recognize that the United States, through its various policies, including NATO expansion and the so-called missile defense shield, is guilty of the same charges we Americans once leveled at the British.

Walls, ideological or physical, on the ground or in space, do not, as Reagan noted, facilitate the cause of liberty and freedom.  They restrict it.  By walling in the Iraqi citizens of Baghdad, by walling out the immigrants who seek solace within our borders and by partitioning off Europe from Iran and Russia, the Bush administration has become that which America once renounced.  All freedom-loving Americans who embrace the cause of liberty and justice for all must rally around the ideals put forward by Reagan when standing next to the Berlin Wall, and declare to the usurper currently sitting in the White House:  We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Bush administration can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.  Mr. Bush, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the United States and the world, if you seek liberalization, then tear down these walls!

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By Bill Blackolive, April 30, 2007 at 10:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bueno, and right now there is this 9/11 coverup and it better get addressed.

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By Expat, April 30, 2007 at 2:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A case of comparing apples with pears. Bush & Co. are not conservative, they´re authoritarian. Instead of conserving (same stem) the basics of american culture - the constitution, the rule of law, the defense of freedom - they are doing everything in their power to change all of this and more, striving for a monarchial, even dictatorian system where the power is not with the people, but in the hands of a very few. Bush is as far from Reagan as he is from JFK.

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By American Slave, April 28, 2007 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment

#66972 by Fadel Abdallah on 4/28 at 9:50 am
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Therefore, I hope you don’t mind addressing you as “American Freedom-fighter” at the beginning of my comment; for you’re a true friend of the truth, and only truth is capable of making true free people.
)+

All my life, freedom has been dear to me.  For that reason, your homage to freedom brought a tear to my eye. 

The “Left” in the U.S.I. has failed in large measure because it has disdained freedom.  Many “Leftists” think they know what is best for others, and think they are entitled to FORCE their ideology down our throats.  Though they scream tolerance, they themselves are extremely INtolerant of ideas that go against their party line. 

This arrogant mindless “commissar” mentality on the “Left” has of course created a vast opening for the “Right”.  People are sick of stupid “Leftists” telling everyone how to think, sick of the taxes supported by the “Left”, sick of supporting government dependency, sick of America haters, etc..  War-loving vampires like Limbaugh and Hannity, by ridiculing the arrogance and stupidity of the “Left”, are then able to pose as champions of the common man.  So people turn away from left-wing fascism in disgust, and end up with right-wing fascism: out of the frying pan, into the fire. 

- -

Following the example set by Raimondo’s antiwar.com, I have come to reject both the left-wing and the right-wing forms of statism.  Instead, I cling to the Enlightenment ideals promoted by the American founders: freedom, equal rights, limited government, the primacy of the individual.  Like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, these ideals are neither “Left” NOR “Right”: They are UNIVERSAL. 

In other words, I am not in the business of marginalizing myself.  I am SERIOUS about wanting this murderous madness to stop—which means that I am trying to speak to EVERYBODY.  I refuse to confine myself within the stupid one-dimensional “Left-Right” universe: I need THREE dimensions!

Yes, I am free in spirit—as Thoreau was free even in prison (see “Civil Disobedience”!).  I realized long ago that we need to free ourselves before we can free others.  But this spiritual or attitudinal freedom, essential though it is, is only the beginning.  It has to infct others and spread far and wide.  People everywhere have to discover that there is JOY in struggle, joy in defiance, joy in casting off the chains of fear, joy in INSIGHT.

An Australian movie I saw recently made this very point.  It was called “Strictly Ballroom”, and it was about dancing, of all things.  EVERYDAY activities provide opportunities for making the choice: To be or not to be!

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=459&mforum=times—War does NOT make us free!

- -

I often quote Goethe:

+(
There are none so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.
)+

It is a paradox: To free ourselves, we must start with reality, and the reality here in America is that we are NOT free.  We are FORCED to support a War System that goes completely against everything human.  Thus, the first step in the struggle to free ourselves is to realize that we ARE slaves.  That is why I call myself “American Slave”.  I will be free when Palestinians are free—not one minute sooner.

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By LonewackoDotCom, April 28, 2007 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

What a wonderful world it would be if all those around the world who are “racked by crime, poverty and civil strife” could come and live in America! Of course, at least a few billion people fit that description, and that’s one of the reasons why we have laws. I’m sure even Scott Ritter could understand that.

And, the contention that illegal aliens operate “as law-abiding residents” is false: their presence is a violation of our laws, and they engage in or have links to other criminal activities: documentforgery, illegal hiring, etc.

If the city wants rebirth, let me suggest they do it by legal means.

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By Spinoza, April 28, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

First order of priority is the Impeachment of Bush and Cheney

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 28, 2007 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

#66961 by American Slave on 4/28 at 8:58 am

Dear “American Freedom-Fighter”:

You posts demonstrate a deep understanding, enlightenment, knowledge and free spirit. That’s why I don’t agree with you to use “American Slave” as your nombre-de-plume. In fact, though the majority of people these days fall under one form or another of 21-century slavery, it seems to me that you are one of those blessed few who are free thinkers. Therefore, I hope you don’t mind addressing you as “American Freedom-fighter” at the beginning of my comment; for you’re a true friend of the truth, and only truth is capable of making true free people.

Thank you friend for being on the side of the truth; keep up the good and noble work, and please…please, change your posting name to one more suitable to your character and what you stand for.

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By Thomas, April 28, 2007 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SCOTT RITTER:who cares what a pedophile has to say!!

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By American Slave, April 28, 2007 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

#66908 by Robert on 4/27 at 10:14 pm
+(
AIPAC, Cheney, Senator Lieberman, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Adelman, and so many others of our elected officials who are slaves to Israel & AIPAC’s goals & objectives have all played a huge part in starting this Iraq war disaster.
)+

Are you familiar with Israel’s 1982 “Oded Yinon” plan?

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5925&mforum=times#5925

The plan calls for the entire Middle East to be cantonized and reduced to primitive warring tribes.  Israel, surrounded by a thousand-mile- wide ring of desolation, would then stand alone, as the “Only Democracy in the Middle East”.  (Of course, only those who have the “Correct Genes” get to participate in this glorious “Democracy”.)

Israel could not possibly do a better job of making a mockery of the American political establishment.  One after another, hypocritical American politicians rush to embrace a failed ultra-racist ideology that is straight out of Nazi Germany.  In place of the WORKABLE American philosophy of freedom and equality (“All men are created equal”), our politicians embrace a foreign ethnocentric ideology, one that divides people into ubermenschen and untermenschen and keeps the latter forever in chains.

Here’s proud Obama, for example, reduced to groveling:

http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2007/04/27/gravel-wont-be-buried/
+(
On another note, Obama totally reversed the impact of his recently quoted statement: “Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people.”

He explained that he had been quoted out of context.

“What I said was ‘Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region.”
)+

American politicians, with a few exceptions, have become Israel’s whores.  They seem to have no self-respect whatsoever. 

- -

http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm
+(
War is just a racket. ...
)+
—Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by USMC Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler.

War is first of all a PROTECTION racket (“Give us your MONEY and your SOUL and we will PROTECT you from non-existent WMD’s!”).  But it looks like war is also a prostitution racket.

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By Esther, April 28, 2007 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fadel writes about the, um, “techniques” that our brilliant, Israeli-inspired security “experts” are using on Muslims at Gitmo, like stripping them naked, wrapping them in the Israeli flag, and forcing them to drink their own urine.

Yeah, Fadel, I already knew of this stuff from earlier reports.

I think it’s really TOO generous of those peerless, God-chosen Israelis to let us in on their patented methods for achieving “security”.

They really SHOULDN’T have, don’t you think?

How can we EVER repay them (I mean, besides destroying ourselves and possibly the planet in the process of fighting wars for dear little Chosen Israel’s benefit, of course…)?

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, April 27, 2007 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment

Comment #66884 by American Slave on 4/27 at 8:03 pm

American Slave…thanks for providing those great links regarding Israel’s “Trail Of Deceptions” in Iraq & elsewhere.

AIPAC, Cheney, Senator Lieberman, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Adelman, and so many others of our elected officials who are slaves to Israel & AIPAC’s goals & objectives have all played a huge part in starting this Iraq war disaster.

Israel has the largest “undeclared” stockpiles of Nuclear, chemical & biological weapons in the region.

Just google search Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistle blower, on Israel’s nukes.

It is Israel that has all the “WMD’s” and NOT Iraq.

Why don’t we hear about Israel’s “WMD’s” from the mainstream news media & our elected Americans officials?

Why is Israel the ONLY country in the Middle-East allowed to manufacture & stockpiles “WMD’s”?

Why all the double standards from our American officials…who just look the other way when it comes to dealing with Israel?

The American Taxpayers give Israel $3-5 billion (over $110 billion since 1948) dollars and tons of sophisticated US made weapons each year.

Who is controlling who? 

One really wonders what does AIPAC & Israel have on this current U.S. administration?

So long as there is a major war/trouble somewhere in the Mid-East & elsewhere, Israel benefits by NOT having to make decisions about the pre-June 1967 borders…as per UN Resolutions 242 & 338.

Here is one more for the list:


“Mossad in Iraq - Video”

“It’s Now Confirmed, Mossad is active in Iraq, Watch!”


http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=101410

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By American Slave, April 27, 2007 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

#66876 by Fadel Abdallah on 4/27 at 7:26 pm
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Another piece of information from free European sources indicate that between 8 thousand and 10 thousand Israeli Mosad agents entered Iraq with the American occupying army. They are the ones mostly planning suicide bombing in Sunni and Shia areas to inflame the passions and the civil war among Iraqis.
)+

See:

http://www.antiwar.com/ips/fadhily.php?articleid=10860
+(
Iraqis Blame US Occupation for Bloody Week
by Ali al-Fadhily / 24 Apr 2007
....
“I noticed that security officers did not carry out any site investigation,” a former police officer who lives in a neighboring area told IPS, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “I have also noticed that no such crime has been solved since the first days of the occupation.”

The officer said that “huge crimes like the Samarra shrine explosions [at the al-Askari Shia mosque in Samarra, 90 km north of Baghdad in February last year] that led to increasing sectarian disputes, and many other crimes, remain unsolved.”
)+

I’ve noticed the same thing.  The hideous crimes are NEVER investigated, the perperators are NEVER found.  It’s the same pattern we saw after 9/11 and even after the Oklahoma City bombing—block or deflect investigation, build a big weeping wall, and use tears to drown out calls for justice.  Somebody is HIDING something!

These articles spill the beans:

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=11438&mforum=times#11438—Karpinski: Abu Ghraib interrogators said they were from Israel

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=326&mforum=times#326—Another stab in the back: Israel in Kurdistan

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1102940,00.html—Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=11437&mforum=times#11437—Iraqi intellectuals flee unidentified ‘death squads’

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=10418—Saban’s “New York money” fuels U.S.I.‘s war-lust

- -

#66876 by Fadel Abdallah on 4/27 at 7:26 pm
+(
American military in the service of Israel and Israelis in the service of U.S. military will leave us with a legacy which will be the cause for a thousand year hatred between these two in their unholy alliance and the Arab and Muslim world!
)+

The Zionist-globalist alliance is satanic. 

In the last sixty years, the pendulum has swung from extreme anti-Semitism to extreme pro-Semitism.  Both forms of Semitism establish an artificial poisonous divided between Jews and non-Jews; both foster strife, global war, and genocide.  This is the evil that our Establishment embraces to the hilt.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 27, 2007 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

To: Esther # 66701; Matt 66699; Jeez # 66680

 
These are excellent points you all make. But if you think you heard it all about the evil Israeli connection just listen to this:

A report I just heard on Chicago Public Radio about the Guantanamo prisoners reveals that one of the techniques interrogators use against the Muslim detainees is to strip them naked and rap them up with the Israeli flag, forcing them to kiss the cross, forcing them to drink their own urine, besides other unheard of methods of torture. But the most interesting of all these is to use of the Israeli flag as a weapon of torture!
 
Another piece of information from free European sources indicate that between 8 thousand and 10 thousand Israeli Mosad agents entered Iraq with the American occupying army. They are the ones mostly planning suicide bombing in Sunni and Shia areas to inflame the passions and the civil war among Iraqis.

American military in the service of Israel and Israelis in the service of U.S. military will leave us with a legacy which will be the cause for a thousand year hatred between these two in their unholy alliance and the Arab and Muslim world!

The Israeli apartheid wall was built with American taxpayers’ money and with the full blessing of Bush and his gang. In light of this it’s almost naive of ask evil Bush to tear down these walls. It is also inappropriate to address him as “Mr. Bush”; he should be addressed as, “Evil, Liar Bush” instead!

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By cal munsan, April 27, 2007 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It may be a bad idea, this wall, but I wonder why, after ten or fifteen paragraphs, there is not any ‘concrete’ discussion about the wall in Scott Ritter’s piece. Indignation, absent a clear, cogent exposition of why it is a bad idea is just more partisan rhetoric.
Will someone post here where one can get another view of this wall that is a little more level-headed.  If I lived in Bahgdad and my life were in danger I doubt I’d find anything in Ritter’s piece that would make me think that this wall was a mistake. His concluding lines are rather silly.

“There is one sign the Bush administration can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.  Mr. Bush, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the United States and the world, if you seek liberalization, then tear down these walls!”

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By Verne Arnold, April 27, 2007 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Well Scott, you’ve started something now.

I just got a chuckle; USA Today had an almost identical headline this morning.  In fact I thought it was your article, but it wasn’t; theirs was as usual, deeply superficial.

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By Kevin, April 27, 2007 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look how well such a wall worked in Belfast…

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By American Slave, April 27, 2007 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

The new Bush strategy: If Iraqis won’t come to Abu Ghraib, then bring Abu Ghraib to the Iraqis. 

- -

But as Louise indicates in #66598 (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/mr_bush_tear_down_these_walls/#66598), Bush’s anti-freedom stand is a continuation of Reagan policies, not a repudiation.

Ritter creates the wrong impression when he writes:
+(
Reagan’s speech was full of the flowery rhetoric typical of polarizing political addresses.  But it was also rooted in the principles and ideals at the very foundation of America.
)+

Reagan’s statement may have resonated, but as Louise says, Reagan was taking credit for the work of others.  In fact, Reagan’s militarism and the militarism of his predecessors DELAYED inevitable change, with militarists in the U.S.I. and the U.S.S.R. propping each other up, using each other as an excuse for domestic repression. 

Some (e.g., Carolyn Eisenberg in Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany) assert that the U.S. was the driving force behind the division of Europe.  I recall reading that the Berlin Wall was actually built at the behest of the U.S.—that the U.S. sought to prevent the FRG from being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of immigrants from the GDR.

It is trade and cultural exchange, not nuclear blackmail, that brought down the Soviet Union: Too many people in Evil Empire #2 began to long for “western” jeans and color tvs.  Ironically, these jeans and color tvs are now made in China.

- -

Yes, freedom was once an American ideal.  But that was two hundred years ago.  It ended in 1865, when Americans choose being large (forced “union”) over being free (voluntary association).  The captivity of the South soon turned into universal captivity, as we know all too well every time we “voluntarily” pay homage to the IRS. 

To the extent that freedom lives on today, it lives in the hearts of a minority of ordinary Americans, not in the political establishment.  From the bogus “War on Drugs” to the bogus “War on Terror”, war is an assault on our liberties.  War is the worst tyranny there is.

The Establishment has been in love with war for the last hundred years.  It sold out American “principles and ideals” in 1913, when it gave us the IRS and the (un)Federal (un)Reserve.  It sold out when it gave us the Palmer Acts—when it arrested and tortured Americans for the crime of being too pro-American.  It sold out when FDR engineered Pearl Harbor.  It sold out when it fire-bombed 68 Japanese cities.  It sold out in 1945, when it drew up the first plans for a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union (JIC-329).

It sold out when it created a standing army and transferred the power to start wars from Congress to the Executive.  It sold out when Truman created the CIA (NSC-20 and NSC-68).

It sold out when “Operation Paperclip” gave refuge and employment at the CIA to tens of thousands of Nazis.  It sold out when it made fascist Israel its sacred cow and golden calf.  It sold out when it stopped making the distinction between the Jewish VICTIMS of the Hitlerites and the Zionist victimIZERS who collaborated WITH the Hitlerites. 

Don’t expect the President of this machiavellian Establishment to lead the revolution!  It is the painful truth that sets us free, not the Deceiver in Chief.

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By Esther, April 27, 2007 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What do we expect, when we know that our government - at the federal, state, and local levels - has since 9/11 been hiring Israeli “experts” to tell us how to “deal with” Arabs and Muslims. We’ve been busy for six years now trying to duplicate Israel’s security “successes” - and paying them lavishly for the favor, you can be sure:

“What’s that, Mr. Ben Expert? Throw them randomly into prisons, torture and humiliate them, encircle their neighborhoods with walls, and strangle them with maddening checkpoints, with no end in sight? Why, those are all great ideas, Mr. Ben Expert!...”

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By Matt, April 27, 2007 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Israeli style is all over this monstrosity.

It is the addition of the Israeli lobby (and Israel’s passionate partisans in the Pentagon, think-tanks, and media) to the petro-military-industrial complex that has created a politically unstoppable force driving America towards ever more wars and other hideous crimes against Arabs and Muslims.

The pro-Israel forces have a special ability to escape criticism because of the left’s long tradition of support for Israel, joined to the Christian right’s fanatical Zionism, plus the Zionists’ long and successful campaign to equate any confessed lack of fervent love for Israel with anti-Semitism in conventional discourse.

People - and not just the “liberals” - have no qualms about expressing skepticism or even downright hostility toward the petro-military-industrialists’ influence on US policy. But politicians, journalists, and pundits are all afraid that even honestly stating the mere fact of Israel’s huge influence here will brand them as anti-Semitic pariahs.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 27, 2007 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

We can talk about walls all we want.  The Bush administrations’ and congress’ AVOIDANCE of the word OIL in all the rhetoric is BLATANT to me.  As long as Americans continue to use Mid-East oil at such an alarming rate, our government hell-bent on protecting the interests of our large corps. will continue to bully its way around the oil-rich areas of the world in the name of “democracy” and “freedom” and other BS, and build walls of any material, even words, to further that agenda.  Furthermore, if you all agree with this, it makes you and I hypocrites because we refuse to do what’s necessary to make it stop and that is, stop using oil.  Fat Chance!  The one trillion the war has cost so far could have gone a long way in creating an energy policy in this country that would diminish our dependence on foreign oil. After this is all said and done, we still won’t have an energy policy and that shows bankrupt leadership and a whoring citizenry.

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By Jeez, April 27, 2007 at 3:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Are the American generals that stupid? Are they ignorant of the Palestinian situation? Do they not know what the symbolism of this wall is for Arabs, Muslims, and thinking people of the world? Yes, they are that stupid.

Scott, you are the man! When the war supporters repeat the lies about this war, just remember that UN inspectors were on the ground in Iraq before the war are could go anywhere in Iraq to search for WMDs. They did and found none, BEFORE the war. The world knew. The world also knows now how corrupt and incompetent the US government and military is.

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By Freedomfinder, April 27, 2007 at 2:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes indeed Mr.Ritter why should we not single out our 52nd.state over our 51st?

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By Verne Arnold, April 27, 2007 at 12:35 am Link to this comment

“The only modern nation that actively incorporates the construction of walls as an aspect of domestic and foreign policy is Israel, and its policy of *apartheid* regarding the Palestinians is morally indefensible.”

Thanks again Scott.  Thanks for not being cowed out of using the “A” word.  You, Jimmy, and a few others see it for what it is.  Walls suck!

These issues go further.  I submit that the American people need to urgently get a very fast education on Fascism.  An untended Democracy is ripe for Fascist leadership; the problem is…it’s already here, but it’s not too late to stop it!

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, April 27, 2007 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

I am puzzled by this photo and/or image. The concrete wall/barrier and the military personnel resemble the Israeli policy & its brutal IDF in Palestine.

There is really NO difference here. Its the OCCUPATION by military force!

One wonders if the concrete pieces are made in Israel & the U.S. pays for them. Mossad & other Israeli intelligence agencies were involved in Iraq, Abu Ghuraib interrogations. We don’t hear about it in the mainstream news media.

Just who is running the Americans policy in the Middle-East?

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By Steve Woodward, April 26, 2007 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is one wall that we need to build: the Iraq war Memeorial. Of course, in order to do this, we need a FINAL body count. which we can only have when the war is over.
END THIS NOW. BRING THE TROOPS HOME AND IMPEACH THESE BASTARDS

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By Andre De Angelis, April 26, 2007 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where’s the beef you say?  Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room!

How can you call the same people who invaded and destroyed Iraq be peacekeepers?  Who asked them to invade?  And since when do peacekeepers build massive military bases and embassies without even seeking permission?

The Iraqis do not want these walls.  Nor does the Iraqi government.  You are confusing peace keepers with occupiers and meat with koolaid.

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By cann4ing, April 26, 2007 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who doubts the impact of building walls, like the ones being erected in Iraq and Palestine, should watch the movie the Pianist.  How ironic that a people who suffered when the Nazis walled-in the Warsaw Ghetto, would one day be the perpetrators of such a crime against humanity.  How ironic that the nation that stood bravely against the fascist onslaught during World War II, would launch an unprovoked war of aggression that has led to the deaths of more than 650,000 Iraqis, has displaced more than 4 million, half of whom are now in exile, having fled from the devastation wrought by this imperial adventure.  Walling the Iraqi people in merely provides testament to the Orwellian lie behind the title, “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”  Daily, we are reminded of the words of the ancient Roman historian Tacitus, “They created desolation and call it peace.”

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 26, 2007 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush can hardly tear down the wall of ignorance, fanaticism and crude evil surrounding him. Haven’t we heard it loud enough and long enough that he is in a state of denial?!

Only concerned angry people, in a state of revolution, can tear dowm evil walls.

So the battle cry should be:

You free and decent people! Tear down all apartheid walls in the world through white revolutions! And tear down with them all the evil, arrogant and misguided rulers who erect them!

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By Louise, April 26, 2007 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When Ronald Reagan said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” he was stating the obvious.

Reagan’s opportune appearance in front of that wall was just that. Frustrated leadership grabbing credit for a circumstance that evolved and developed beyond their control.

Focus on war, aggression, privatizing and profit was as typical in the Reagan Administration as it is today. No matter how much the people may want to believe Reagan worked hard to bring about peace and the end of Communism, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, they were all caught off guard.

In the 80’s, trade to countries behind the Iron Curtain had opened to a small degree. Business consulates representing Soviet Block Nations were working to that end. By early 1985, word surfaced that the end of Communist Party control in Russia and the collapse of the Soviet Empire was imminent. For “free world” entrepreneurs, this was both a blessing and a problem. Generations of being told what to do and being told to never make a decision outside of official Communist control guaranteed a populace that could not keep things running. Had the politicos been paying attention, they would have been prepared for this.

During the Reagan Administration nobody was paying attention and nobody was prepared. The people knew long before the politicos realized.

Remnants of the Reagan administration, like tattered old shoes, populate today’s Bush administration. They still live in the hate and be hated era of them versus us that the “Communist threat” guaranteed. To say these people are representative of conservative ideals is foolish.

They represent the principles of lust and lie. Divide and conquer, and then destroy. And like old shoes they leave a bad odor everywhere they go.

They have no use for peace and prosperity. They live for personal power and profit and the only way they know how to get both is to take advantage of problems. The worse the problem, the better the profit. That old Capitalist idea, behind every problem lies an opportunity, taken one step further.

That’s the real story behind GWOT and the War in Iraq!

The Berlin Wall, like the Baghdad Wall, the Wall at the Mexican Border and the Wall that imprisons the Palestinians, represents oppression. Only this time, WE are the oppressors. People of conscience and compassion who have the courage to acknowledge the War in Iraq was a very stupid idea and is a monumental failure, marvel at the stupidity of building a Wall in Baghdad.

But those who still run the administration welcome any problem the wall might create. They simply can’t understand how other minds work. They simply don’t have the depth of feeling to see the pain and anguish their decisions create for others. They just don’t get it!

Bush has been labeled stubborn. He is not stubborn. He is confused. Nothing in life has prepared him for dealing outside of the only world he has ever lived in. The world where problems offer a chance for profit. Nothing beyond those six words has validity.

The wall in Baghdad stands as witness to the failure of the War in Iraq. But this administration will not order it taken down. To do so would require looking for real solutions.  That concept goes beyond the realm of conventional thinking in their version of reality. It is beyond their understanding. What we see as failure they see as another opportunity for profit.

With these people, the problem is the goal. Remember that.

Until we realize how far off center these folks are, and start looking beneath the surface when we vote, there is little chance anything will ever change.

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By ken, April 26, 2007 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t forget the wall American foreign aid is building around the gettos of Palistine.

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By QuyTran, April 26, 2007 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

The newly erected Iraq wall is equal to the Berlin Wall.

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By Jim Hoover, April 26, 2007 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem with walls of any kind is that they are a short-term solution for problems. The long-term solution is to address the source of the problem, something the feckless Bush adminstration has demonstrated it can’t do and in fact doesn’t have the understanding or copacity to do.
Each solution involves research, diplomacy, understanding and intelligence that is missing form the very heart of the neocon mind and heart. The only solution is to install a reasoning, intelligent person in government, the sooner the better.

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By Michael Boldin, April 26, 2007 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Anything an invading and occupying army does is a violation, both morally and legally.  The existence of the war and the military is a violating of liberty in the worst way.

Mr. Ritter hit it on the head with this:
“the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.”

On top of it, every moment of this war is a violation of the US Constitution.  I know, i know…that ole thing right?

But, the Constitution is a limit on what the government can legally do.  When they violate it at will, they become an arbitrary government….

one that invades nations, kills civilians, builds walls in foreign countries, lies to us, spies on us and on and on and on.

Another word for an arbitrary government is a despotic one.

There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes this illegal war, or any actions of the military to continue. 

For more, read “The Troops Don’t Support the Constitution”

http://www.populistamerica.com/the_troops_don_t_support_the_constitution

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By cal munsan, April 26, 2007 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thin. very very thin argument. Where is the beef? A re-reading confirms the writer is polarized and not interested in understanding the decision that went into putting the wall up. Made not by Republicans but by peacekeepers. Read on, thinking democrats, to find a meatier discussion of the wall. But not here.

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